Victor: Arteries of Beauty

Published: Sunday, 30 August 2020

'ARTERIES of Beauty.  Britain's canal network is a wonderful amenity. Time now to revive the towpaths'.

NO, no, and no again, not our words, God forbid, but those of the rather misguided Times newspaper, and in a leading article no less!

The somewhat misguided Times forgets the actual canals and is delirious about the towpaths, and that the Canal & River Trust has plans to improve 30 towpaths at a cost of £45 millions!

This is to encourage walkers and cyclists and tells the 'now bumpy. narrow and overgrown towpaths need considerable work to fit them for all year round use, and there could not be a better time to boost the canals revival'.

Methinks the Times has been taken for a bit of a ride by someone who sees our canals as little more than a linear park and obviously wants the money for it...

Redhill4No mooring at Redhill

Our answer to 'marina fever' is to take a little trip up the Soar to Redhill where there are three official moorings, allowing us pleasant riverside walks along its path.

But alas not the last time we ventured up river as there was no space allowing us to moor anywhere.  And as it is impossible to moor at the river's bank all we could manage was a short stay on Radcliffe Lock moorings to let the dog off for a few minutes.  With Leicester on lockdown there were no boats travelling so we bothered no one.

Redhill1So it was back to the marina, taking note of all the craft at the moorings, to be surprised that not one was an actual genuine moorer.

No, my friends, they were barges, boats with trade plates, boats for sale (the sale notice can be seen on the adjoining picture) and decrepit boats.  Looking across at Redhill Boatyard it was obvious where the boats were from, as it was completely clear of boats it being upgraded.

Mind you, every time we have visited there have been Redhill boats firmly secured to those moorings, though it has lots of empty jetties up river...

About time Canal & River Trust did something about it and made sure those moorings can be used for the boats that are entitled.

Should have to pay

With the lack of money for maintenance those boats that cause lock gate damage by crashing into top gates should surely be taken to court for damages.

The latest was at Wash House Lock (10) at Bath on the Kennet & Avon where a boat damaged the lock gate and closed the canal whilst it was repaired.

In some instances waterways are closed for weeks when damage is such it requires new gates, yet the person causing the damage and subsequent cost of repair goes blithely on his, or her, way...

A problem

There is a bit of a problem on the Weaver at the moment with Saltersford Lock.

Though CaRT is pleased to advise the repair to the lock has been successful and navigation has resumed, but with on-going operational restrictions.

Alas there is no intimation what those 'operational restrictions' are, but worse, the official notice is 'Navigation Closed'!

I think we can safely rate that as another Cartism, eh?

Victor Swift